We have a cholera outbreak crisis in the country. The number of cases and deaths from cholera keeps on rising. This is despite Ministry of Health officials insisting that the outbreak is under control, and it is not a crisis yet. At this point, I can safely say that the disease is getting out of hand.
So far, 11 of the country’s 28 districts have been affected by the disease. The national death toll from cholera is now at 12. However, it is worrying that despite the rising numbers of cholera cases, there are reports that it is only Karonga district that is giving cholera vaccine while it is yet to start in other districts such as Lilongwe.
The way I look at this is that even one death should be enough to jilt authorities to go all out to try and contain the outbreak. This attitude of dismissing the situation as not being out of control isn’t helping the health authorities or anybody else, if anything, it is worsening the situation.
When cholera cases were reported in Zambia, government there was decisive and went all out to arrest the situation. Surely, Malawi can borrow a leaf or two from Zambia on how to contain the outbreak.
The cholera daily updates that I have seen so far, show that the cases are rising, and it is spreading to new districts. This is a crisis and it has to be treated with the urgency it deserves.
As for the Ministry of Health authorities, you won’t be seen as failures if you declare that there is a crisis.
There is need for concerted efforts to address the situation, but this can only happen if the authorities admit that they need an extra hand. Do it before it is too late.
While the health authorities have more responsibility of containing the outbreak, every Malawian has a duty to ensure that they are living in hygienic environments.
There, also, ought to be some strict enforcement of rules on ready cooked street food, which is mostly unpacked, uncovered and sold in places that are not hygienic—fuelling the spread of the disease.